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The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500 Paperback – 1 Oct 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ruth Bean Publishers (Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0903585324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0903585323
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 1.4 x 29.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Sarah Thursfield is an experienced cutter and dressmaker with a special interest in medieval dress. Her tailoring commissions include medieval and Tudor outfits for museums, garments for exhibitions, and many outfits for historical re-enactors.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book comes in a large format, A4 size, and is devoted to giving a practical and fairly detailed account on how to create patterns for historical clothing. I would not say that it gives a lot of help on the construction of the garments themselves, but focusses rather on the pattern construction, including how to take measurements and plan your outfit. I should say that there is a section in the beginning that brings up how to put the pattern blocks together. From this follows that it probably helps to have some skills in dress making already.
The title says "making common garments 1200-1500" and what it means is that it covers the basic components of an outfit from these periods, not necessarily that the garments are simple or bland. The patterns deal with the basic building blocks of:
* smocks, shirts, braies (undergarments and body linens),
* cotes, kirtles, doublets, hose (main garments)

* surcotes, cotehardies, gowns, cloaks, frocks (outer garments)
* hats, caps, coifs, hoods, barbettes, veil, etc (head-wear)
* belts, purses, pouches, gloves, aprons, etc (accessories)
None of the patterns deal specifically with very fashionable designs, but are perhaps quite non-descript in those terms. This leaves much room for personalization and individual designs, e.g. embroidery, pattern adaptation, and so on. The book does bring up ideas for finishing touches like lacing, buttons, tassels, pearls and that sort of thing.
My own opinion of the authenticity of these patterns is that the author appears very serious and a proponent of historically correct methods, materials, and patterns.
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Format: Paperback
As a medieval re-enactor I recently looked through a mass of books on medieval clothing looking for ideas when I stumbled upon this at Oxford's Medieval Fayre I had a flick through the pages anf found that this was one of the best book I had found. IT gives well detailed explanations of how the clothes should be made and worn, and usuful information about adding detail for that truely authentic look. One of the best books by far on medieval clothing design....
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Ms Thursfield's book is a good starting point for those who wish to reconstruct medieval clothing. She makes useful points about sewing technique (some taken from the Museum of London: Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450 volume)and it is without doubt an improvement on clothing patterns sold by large dressmaking companies. However, several items are not at all similar in their construction to extant examples (kirtles) and those which are (the hose for example) are not pointed out and no documentation or references are given. Her technique for fitting a 'block' and for wide flared skirts are questionable and the skirts are wasteful of fabric (a serious consideration for reenactors and those who realise the cost of cloth). For those who wish to pursue this area further, the above MoL volume, 'Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince' and authentic illustrations, e.g. the Luttrell Psalter or Tacuinum Sanitatis, provide excellent research material. Online, I would suggest searching for 'versatile cote' and 'Robin Netherton', both of which would lead to detailed work on women's Gothic/fitted medieval dresses. In spite of these caveats, I have no hesitation in recommending Ms Thursfield's volume as a starting point, albeit one which requires a careful reading.
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Format: Paperback
Sarah Thursfields book is excellent. I've met the author on a number of occasions and seen her actual work, which has helped me in my own medieval dressmaking. Despite having been a re-enactor for over a decade she's helped me and many others enormously. Our group treat it as a superb basic guide to kit.
I know Sarah wanted to include more detail and in-depth discussion on the costume, but for a basic beginer or a sewer that hasn't 'done' medieval before her book is a really good base.I think someone new to it would find more detail confusing. (Sarah was the lady talkng about costume on Terry Jones' Medieval Lives btw and had made/advised with alot of the kit on show)
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This is about the best book you can get to help you make medieval clothes accurately. I have the much thumbed & pored over older version, and was thrilled to get this updated one. I haven't gone through it all with a fine tooth comb, but the bits which I've noticed are different, and have read have been excellent. I was a little disappointed by the illustrations, which I felt could have been better, but that's a very minor point. Well worth buying.
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I liked the first edition a lot, and used it frequently, but despite being a person who is very careful with money, I am very pleased I bought this one too. The pictures are better, it clarifies one or two things with more photographs and clear explanations. This book is a brilliant way to save money and time by getting things right the first time, fabric is expensive, sewing takes time, using reliable sources of researched garments means you can have more fun making more new things, rather than remaking the basics. My daughter is now pleased to have the earlier edition, waste not want not and all that...
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